Young among first-timers on HOF ballot
ARLINGTON -- Former Rangers infielder Michael Young will be under consideration this winter for baseball immortality.
Young is on the Hall of Fame Ballot for the first time in 2019. The ballot is being mailed this week to more than 400 voting members of the Baseball Writers' Association of America, with the results to be announced on Jan. 22. Those named on at least 75 percent of the ballots will be inducted into the Hall of Fame next summer.
Young's primary Hall of Fame qualification is that he was a hit machine during his prime years with the Rangers. A seven-time All-Star, Young was a career .300 hitter with six seasons of 200 or more hits. His career high was 221 in 2005 when he won the American League batting title.
Young was also an exceptionally versatile infielder with the ability to play all four infield positions, even winning a Gold Glove at shortstop in 2008. He was also the Most Valuable Player of the 2006 All-Star Game and helped lead the Rangers to World Series appearances in 2010 and '11.
"It is an incredible honor," Young said. "Very humbling. As I move along in my former playing years, I recognize that I didn't do anything alone. Not even close. So I thank everybody who helped me before, during and after my big league career."
Young's presence on the ballot contains a big "what if?" since he retired after just 13 full seasons in the Major Leagues at age 36 to spend more time with his family. At the time, he had 2,375 hits. The challenge for Young would have been to play four more years, reach 3,000 career hits and maintain a .300 average. Had he been able to accomplish that, he would have put himself in a much stronger position for Hall of Fame consideration.
Former Rangers pitcher Darren Oliver is also on the ballot for the first time. Oliver had three different tours with the Rangers in 1993-98, 2000-01 and 2010-11. He will likely be remembered most for his work as a reliever when the Rangers went to the World Series in 2010 and '11.
There are nine players on the ballot who at some point in their careers played with the Rangers. Besides Young and Oliver, the others were Lance Berkman, Travis Hafner, Andruw Jones, Derek Lowe, Roy Oswalt, Sammy Sosa and Omar Vizquel.